Sixty years of global progress in managed aquifer recharge


The last 60 years has seen unprecedented groundwater extraction and overdraft as well as development ofnew technologies for water treatment that together drive the advance in intentional groundwater replenishment known as managed aquifer recharge (MAR). This paper is the first known attempt to quantify the volume ofMAR at global scale, and to illustrate the advancement of all the major types ofMAR and relate these to research and regulatory advancements. Faced with changing climate and rising intensity ofclimate extremes, MAR is an increasingly important water management strategy, alongside demand management, to maintain, enhance and secure stressed groundwater systems and to protect and improve water quality. During this time, scientific research—on hydraulic design offacilities, tracer studies, managing clogging, recovery efficiency and water quality changes in aquifers—has underpinned practical improvements in MAR and has had broader benefits in hydrogeology. Recharge wells have greatly accelerated recharge, particularly in urban areas and for mine water management. In recent years, research into governance, operating practices, reliability, economics, risk assessment and public acceptance ofMAR has been undertaken. Since the 1960s, implementation of MAR has accelerated at a rate of 5%/year, but is not keeping pace with increasing groundwater extraction. Currently, MAR has reached an estimated 10 km3/year, ~2.4% of groundwater extraction in countries reporting MAR (or ~1.0% of global groundwater extraction). MAR is likely to exceed 10% of global extraction, based on experience where MAR is more advanced, to sustain quantity, reliability and quality ofwater supplies.

Hydrogeology Journal 27 (1): 1-30 10.1007/s10040-018-1841-z
Sprenger, C.
Sprenger, C.